April 13, 2021 52o F Hingham, MA

April 13, 2021 52o F Hingham, MA

Young Woman Seriously Injured In Hit-And-Run Accident On Lincoln Street

“They left me for dead,” said Deirdre Koenen of the driver of the vehicle that hit her. “I’m not okay with that. That’s not okay.”

Deirdre, who has been a long-distance runner since middle school, had finished teaching in Brookline and was home for a Christmas week visit. She had gone out for a run from her parents’ North Street home around 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 21st. Her plan was to take the sidewalks down North Street to Lincoln then up Thaxter and back home again. “This is the route I will normally take if I want a nice two-mile run,” she said. “I’ve done it many times.”

Although her parents reminded her to wear something that was clearly visible at night, Deirdre is a marathoner/ultra-marathoner who is aware of the precautions she needs to take and has never viewed time of day as a factor in her training. “I go for a run whenever I feel like I want to,” she said.

There was snow on the the ground which concerned Deirdre a little bit, but she had run in these conditions before. When she was a member of the track team and participated in the long-distance running club in Hingham, the coaches would advise the runners to run in the streets when the sidewalks were too snowy because it is difficult to run in deep snow. “It’s for safety,” explained Deirdre, adding, “physically, your limbs benefit from it.”

On this particular night, Deirdre was able to stay on the sidewalk for the majority of her run. However, she was forced to move into the street for a short time because of the condition of the sidewalk. “I was running on the sidewalk most of the time,” she said. “When I ran in the street, it was for a couple minutes probably, since I was facing a stretch of sidewalk that wasn’t plowed.” That stretch of sidewalk was along Lincoln Street across from Broad Cove and is an extension of the Downtown sidewalks that are plowed by the Department of Public Works. For more information on snow removal in town, click here.

There were snowbanks between the street and the sidewalk. As she ran, three cars approached her from 3A. “I was as close as I could have been to the snow,” said Deirdre. “I was facing traffic, and the two cars in front both did the right thing and avoided me.” For some reason, the third car did not.

“Somehow I got hit,” she said. “Whoever was in the car just did not move.”

Deirdre’s parents Paul and Kathleen were home when they received a phone call a little after 7:25 p.m. The call was from an unknown number, but it was Deirdre on the line. “My wife answered and told me that I better go to help Deirdre,” said Paul, “she had been hit by a car.”

Kathleen and Paul raced to 148 Lincoln Street where they saw several emergency vehicles. As they parked and walked over, their friend, Kevin Shea, met them. Kevin just so happened to be the homeowner. He led them into the house through the back door. “Deirdre was sitting in a kitchen chair,” said Paul. “She had blood on her and was obviously looking a little shook up.” Emergency responders surrounded her. They put a brace on her neck and head and helped her onto a stretcher.

At this point, Paul was unaware of the gravity of Deirdre’s injuries. “I’m thinking that looked like a little extra precaution, that wasn’t obvious she would need,” he said. What he didn’t know was that a driver had hit her and knocked her 15 feet in the air to where she landed on the Shea’s driveway. Amazingly, Deirdre had been able to crawl, walk and drag herself up the driveway to the Shea’s house with seven broken ribs, a broken hip, abdominal bleeding, a lumbar hernia and severe lacerations. She was taken from South Shore Hospital to Brigham and Women’s for surgery and stayed there for eight days.

Since the accident, the Hingham Police have been conducting an investigation. According to Paul, Officers Fernandes and Emmott began attempting to find video from the area. “The car had only about a half dozen possible paths that it probably took after it left the scene,” he said. “The only other possibility would be the driver doubled back and drove right past Deirdre, but Deirdre didn’t recall seeing cars heading either way as she struggled up to the nearby house.”

In the days that followed, Paul walked the loop that Deirdre had run multiple times. “In my own desire to do something,” said Paul, “I attempted to help a little myself.” By the Wednesday after the accident, the snow had melted. “Each day I found more and more pieces of broken glass that I assumed came from the car on impact,” Paul continued. “A few of the pieces were large enough to contain some interesting information that could help in identifying the car, and I was able to add a few pieces to the collection of evidence.”

The accident likely took place around 7:10 p.m., and the car’s front right headlight would have been completely broken in the crash. Body shops in the area have been notified and, according to Paul, have been very helpful, although there are many places a person could go to get their passenger-side headlight fixed.

The police have not yet identified a suspect and are encouraging anyone who thinks they may have information useful to the case to reach out using the tip line. “The tip line is anonymous,” said Sergeant Steven Dearth. “We encourage tips.” Dearth is quick to add that people should err on the side of providing too much information and allow the police to make determinations as to what is relevant.

Deirdre would like to see justice brought to her situation. Paul agrees and adds, with deep gratitude, that “the outpouring from the community of care and support and prayers has been very moving for us.”

Click here to submit a tip to the Hingham Police Department.

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Town Meeting Votes To Approve Public Safety Facility Land Purchase By 12 Votes

After three hours of discussion and debate on the chilly multipurpose field at Hingham High School, Town Meeting voted by a razor-thin margin to authorize the Board of Selectmen to purchase the property at 335 Lincoln Street next to Fresh Market. A 2/3-approval was required, and in the end it was achieved but only by 12 votes. Of the 453 people who voted, 69%, or 314, said yes. The remainder of 139 said no.

Promptly at noon, Town Moderator Michael Puzo welcomed everyone in attendance and opened the Meeting with some remarks about the manner in which Town Meeting is held. Members of the Board of Selectmen, Advisory Committee and Public Safety Facility Committee spoke, and the floor was opened up to members of the public.

A handful of board and committee members spoke in favor of the purchase from the audience; several people shared their thoughts; some asked questions; and some, like Susan Garland and Priya Howell, spoke in favor of the purchase but stressed the importance of “fully funding” the schools. Howell warned that parents would be back in the spring to make sure this happened.

Attendees were regularly reminded that the vote was for the purchase of the land only and any discussion about the price of the final project was not relevant. However, the Moderator did allow one question on the price to be answered. Bob Garrity of the Public Safety Facility Building Committee revealed that the consultants had estimated a final price of $35M – stressing that it was a very rough estimate.

Among those who spoke was Tom O’Reilly who proposed a Motion to Amend the Article. The language he suggested for insertion would have prohibited the construction of a Public Safety Facility and preserve the property for the schools until the issues with Foster School were addressed. “Buy the land, but don’t do anything until Foster School is finished,” he explained. That proposal was ruled out of scope by the Moderator who did not allow it to move forward.

Christine Smith who is chair of the South Shore Country Club Committee said that she has served on various boards and committees since moving to Hingham in 1998 and encouraged people to “trust the process” and suggested that “if you have a problem, you volunteer and help address the problem.” She also reminded Town Meeting attendees that $2.5M had been allocated to Foster School in 2006 to “breathe 10 years of life” into the building. After calling for consensus-building, she added, “You don’t want to pit anyone against anyone in this town.”

Another former School Committee member approached the issue from a different angle. Andy Shafter said that the annual interest on the loan alone would equal “one teacher.” He noted that the town owns quite a bit of property already and inquired as to whether or not the study committee had explored the option of a land swap. Advisory Committee member Nancy MacDonald said that several properties in the Fottler Road area had been considered but the owners were not amenable to selling.

Danielle Erdmann who said she moved to the Shipyard a year ago from South Boston expressed concerns about the impact a public safety facility would have on traffic in the area. She then addressed a second comment to the school crowd, whose remarks had made an impression on her, by saying, “The Board of Selectmen is not listening to you.”

That prompted a response from Selectman Mary Power who asserted that “all town boards and committees work very hard to listen to all of the needs of the town’s citizenry.” However, Power did concede that the pandemic had “exposed some funding deficiencies in town.”

At 2:00 PM, Jude Miller called the question. Based on the voice vote, the Moderator said he had no doubt the motion had carried; however, a motion for reconsideration then prompted a standing vote. After the count, the final tally was revealed to be 314 votes in favor of purchasing the land and 139 opposed.

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Board Of Selectmen Approve Warrant And Reduce Quorum To 200 For Outdoor Town Meeting On November 21st

The Selectmen have signed and issued the Warrant for Special Town Meeting that is scheduled for Saturday, November 21st and will be held on the multipurpose field at the high school. Extreme heat was a concern at Annual Town Meeting in June, but cooling stations will be replaced with warming huts at next month’s Meeting. Backup plans have been put into place so that the Town can stay on track with a vote to approve the purchase of a parcel of land at 335 Lincoln Street in the Shipyard which will be the site of a new Public Safety Facility and will house police headquarters and the North Street Fire Station.

The lot, which is assessed for $3.5M and was appraised for $4M in February prior to communities seeing an impact on commercial real estate due to COVID, has a negotiated price of $5.475M. “We are prepared to pay a premium for this property,” said Town Administrator Tom Mayo. The current owners purchased the property in 2016 for $1.545M which means they would see a return on their investment of almost 254% in just four years.

Concerns over being able to achieve a quorum for Annual Town Meeting were expressed in the spring. In response to those concerns, the Selectmen chose to take advantage of a provision in new rules resulting from the pandemic that allow municipalities to bypass certain components of the Open Meeting Law. Hingham could have reduced the quorum size from 300 to 30 as was permitted; however, the Town ultimately set it at 200. The Articles on the Warrant require a 2/3 approval vote which means that 134 voters, or just 0.5% of the population, could make the final decision.

During this week’s meeting, Chair Mary Power pointed out that Mayo had suggested the Town follow suit for Special Town Meeting. The recommendation was unanimously approved by all three selectmen but is subject to the approval of Town Moderator Michael Puzo who is in charge of the Meeting.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mayo said about the reduction in the size of the quorum. “Better safe than sorry. You just never know in this situation. The town’s business is important.”

The business at hand is a parcel that the Selectmen have identified as an ideal location for a Public Safety Facility. At this point, the Articles on the Warrant simply pertain to the purchase of the land; however, the Selectmen are well within their right to reopen the Warrant and add other Articles, like zoning bylaw changes, to it.

Members of the Board of Selectmen:

Mary Power, Chair, powerm@hingham-ma.gov

Joe Fisher, fisherj@hingham-ma.gov

Bill Ramsey, ramseyw@hingham-ma.gov

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Board Of Selectmen Approve Warrant And Reduce Quorum To 200 For Outdoor Town Meeting On November 21st

The Selectmen have signed and issued the Warrant for Special Town Meeting that is scheduled for Saturday, November 21st and will be held on the multipurpose field at the high school. Extreme heat was a concern at Annual Town Meeting in June, but cooling stations will be replaced with warming huts at next month’s Meeting. Backup plans have been put into place so that the Town can stay on track with a vote to approve the purchase of a parcel of land at 335 Lincoln Street in the Shipyard which will be the site of a new Public Safety Facility and will house police headquarters and the North Street Fire Station.

New Streetlight And Signage Coming To Dark Curve On Upper Gardner Street

A dark and dangerous curve on upper Gardner Street in South Hingham will be getting a new streetlight thanks to a citizen’s request. The bend in the road, which is located near the Mormon Church and is narrower than the rest of the street, is not well lit, and it has been the site of serious accidents in recent years.

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Officials urge residents to respond to potential cuts in MBTA train and ferry service to south shore towns

“The main event tonight is the next agenda item,” quipped Board of Selectmen Chair Mary Power at the start of last night’s meeting, “and that is the discussion of proposed MBTA Hingham, ferry and Greenbush rail service cuts.” Sen. Patrick O’Connor, Reps. Jamie Murphy and Joan Meschino, CEO of South Shore Chamber of Commerce Peter Forman and the town’s representative to the MBTA David Alschuler were all in…

World’s End Scheduled To Open On May 19th

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Additional $4M to improve roadway, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure on Route 3A approved by State

At the Harbor Development Committee meeting on Wednesday night, Route 3A Task Force member Deirdre Anderson announced that the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved a second round of funding for the Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary Project as part of its Transportation Improvement Plan for 2021-25. The new funding amounts to $4 million.

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West Hingham commuter rail station [Hingham Current photo | Kristen Arute]

Officials urge residents to respond to potential cuts in MBTA train and ferry service to south shore towns

“The main event tonight is the next agenda item,” quipped Board of Selectmen Chair Mary Power at the start of last night’s meeting, “and that is the discussion of proposed MBTA Hingham, ferry and Greenbush rail service cuts.” Sen. Patrick O’Connor, Reps. Jamie Murphy and Joan Meschino, CEO of South Shore Chamber of Commerce Peter Forman and the town’s representative to the MBTA David Alschuler were all in attendance to discuss the issue.

“Those of you who have been tuning in have known that the Board is working on letter to send to state,” noted Power. “That’s something that Joe (Fisher) is working on very diligently.” The meeting was described as an opportunity to get input for Fisher’s letter which will be discussed and voted on at their meeting on Thursday.

“I think the public needs to know where do matters stand now,” said Fisher. “What’s going on? What’s the current proposal from the T? And what’s the T’s schedule for moving forward? What are the next steps. And the public and especially Hingham residents want to know how this going to affect the Town of Hingham. And then we all want to know what is the Board of Selectmen doing and what are we planning to do?”

Fisher outlined his agenda for addressing those questions:

  • “The first thing is a letter being sent to MassDOT, the MBTA and other government officials.”

  • “It’s important to hear what other towns are doing.”

  • “Residents want to know what they can do to save the ferry, what they can do to save Greenbush.”

  • “What resources are out there so people know where to turn to get additional information.”

The MBTA is required to begin their budget discussions now and is attempting to find ways to save money and bring in revenue in an effort to close a budget deficit of $500M, plan for the next budget cycle and predict future cycles. As people slowly head back to work, ridership has begun to resume; however, it is nowhere near where it was prior to the pandemic. Supply does not meet demand. Before COVID, the Greenbush line during peak hours was at 98-104% capacity. It is now at 10-12%.

The T is going through a series of ridership scenarios looking at critical transit lines and communities to see where there could be potential savings in this current fiscal year. The most significant way is to make cuts to service. “They are thinking of doing this in a policy-structured way,” noted Meschino. “I would argue that the policy rubric they’re looking at is too narrow.” She encouraged listeners to visit her website for more information and to sign up for her ferry newsletter.

“The proposed cuts are definitely real and are going to have to come from somewhere inside of the MBTA’s budget,” said O’Connor. “The decline in ridership has led to major reductions in the amount of fares that the MBTA are taking in. There will be a cliff that the MBTA will go off of, and there will be a deficit.”

In response to the threat, Meschino said that she has been working with communities to write letters, reach out to business partners and reach out to the environmental community “to address what the public health issues are, our carbon emission reduction goals, our social justice and our congestion and transit goals.”

Meschino, who is a ferry rider herself, went on to describe efforts made in Hull to save the ferry and noted that one of the criteria the MBTA is using to make their determination is “critical transit.”

“We are looking to counter the false narrative that it is luxury transit,” said Meschino, “and try to put a face on who the ridership is.”

The State invested $574M to get the Greenbush line up and running just 15 years ago. However, Greenbush and the ferry fall into what’s known as “the fourth quadrant,” which means they could see deep cuts or possible elimination altogether. “This is a real scenario,” said Meschino. “This isn’t bluster.” The MBTA will present the rubric they intend to use make recommendations to the Fiscal Management Control Board on November 9th.

“We need to preserve service,” said O’Connor. “It’s always going to be easier to scale back up from something that’s in existence right now rather than if they take Greenbush and the ferry offline. That may be a death blow to both of those modes of transportation. We absolutely cannot allow that to happen.”

New Streetlight And Signage Coming To Dark Curve On Upper Gardner Street

A dark and dangerous curve on upper Gardner Street in South Hingham will be getting a new streetlight thanks to a citizen’s request. The bend in the road, which is located near the Mormon Church and is narrower than the rest of the street, is not well lit, and it has been the site of serious accidents in recent years.

One car that was traveling at a high rate of speed hit the stone wall in front of 371 Gardner Street and flipped over landing on its hood on the opposite side of the road. The driver was wearing a seatbelt. While shaken up, he walked away unscathed.

Another driver knocked down the telephone pole in front of 371 Gardner. She left behind debris from her car and dragged telephone wires for miles before being pulled over in Rockland.

During their meeting last night, the Traffic Committee voted to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that a streetlight be installed. “This was brought to us by a resident on the Rockland side,” said Officer Jeff Kilroy. “He’s brought up a valid concern about the lighting in the area of 371 Gardner Street.”

Officer Kilroy visited the location with Randy Sylvester of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and conferred with Hingham Municipal Light Plant (HMLP). “I spoke with Mike Menton and Paul Heanue from the HMLP,” said Kilroy, “and they agreed that a light could be installed at that location.

There are already signs approaching the curve on either side; however, DPW plans to install more. “They would hope to get adequate signage,” said Kilroy. “There’s some question that maybe having some other Chevron or hashmark style signage would be included in that.”

Sylvester said the signs would go up at the end of next week.

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Young Woman Seriously Injured In Hit-And-Run Accident On Lincoln Street

“They left me for dead,” said Deirdre Koenen of the driver of the vehicle that hit her. “I’m not okay with that. That’s not okay.” Deirdre, who has been a long-distance runner since middle school, had finished teaching in Brookline and was home for a Christmas week visit. She had gone out for a run from her parents’ North Street home around 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 21st. Her plan was to take the sidewalks down North Street to Lincoln then up Thaxter and back home again.

Officials urge residents to respond to potential cuts in MBTA train and ferry service to south shore towns

“The main event tonight is the next agenda item,” quipped Board of Selectmen Chair Mary Power at the start of last night’s meeting, “and that is the discussion of proposed MBTA Hingham, ferry and Greenbush rail service cuts.” Sen. Patrick O’Connor, Reps. Jamie Murphy and Joan Meschino, CEO of South Shore Chamber of Commerce Peter Forman and the town’s representative to the MBTA David Alschuler were all in…

World’s End Scheduled To Open On May 19th

The Trustees of Reservations just announced that World’s End is one of five properties that have a planned opening date of Tuesday, May 19th Here’s what you need to know: Parking lot capacity will be limited to 50% No transactions for parking will occur on-site…

Additional $4M to improve roadway, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure on Route 3A approved by State

At the Harbor Development Committee meeting on Wednesday night, Route 3A Task Force member Deirdre Anderson announced that the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved a second round of funding for the Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary Project as part of its Transportation Improvement Plan for 2021-25. The new funding amounts to $4 million.

Hingham officials express concern over large-scale homes

Residents and Planning Board members expressed concern about the influx of large-scale homes in Hingham during the Planning Board meeting on Monday night. More than thirty people dialed into the meeting when they learned that a controversial plan for a new home in the Crow Point neighborhood was on the agenda.

Additional $4M to improve infrastructure on Route 3A approved by State

At the Harbor Development Committee meeting on Wednesday night, Route 3A Task Force member Deirdre Anderson announced that the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved a second round of funding for the Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary Project as part of its Transportation Improvement Plan for 2021-25.

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